Collaborative Effort

Developing closer collaboration mechanisms between tourism and security administrations to ensure a safe, secure and seamless travel framework was on the top of the agenda as tourism ministers and top level officials from 86 countries gathered in Madrid, Spain this month.

The meeting stressed the global nature of security challenges and the need to create global solutions while enhancing the collective support to countries affected.

Participants called for the integration of tourism in international and national emergency systems and highlighted the role of public-private sector cooperation, as well as the importance of strong communications and media partnerships.

UNWTO secretary-general, Taleb Rifai said that: “The role of tourism is still underestimated and the integration of travel and tourism into national emergency structures and procedures often happens only after a major incident has taken place. Today we are here to discuss how security issues are impacting our sector and what can be done to ensure we continue to advance towards safe, secure and seamless travel.”

Rifai continued: “Only by working together can we increase the resiliency of the tourism sector, reduce the risk of damage and loss, and accelerate recovery – and ultimately ensure the sustained growth of our sector and its contribution to economic growth, job creation and development.”

Yuri Fedotov, executive director of the United Nations Office of Drugs and Crime (UNODC), pointed out that: “This meeting addresses a critical question facing us today – namely, how can we harness and expand the benefits of tourism, while safeguarding our societies?”

Fedotov also highlighted the need for public-private sector cooperation, observing: “While destinations are under pressure to ensure tourist safety and security, it is essential that both inbound and outbound States cooperate and put the necessary measures in place to ensure the safety of travellers, including the strengthening public-private partnerships.”